“This Is Our Home”: An Autoethnography of the Effects of Resource Extraction Industries In Rural South Texas
Goal: This project is concerned with how resource extraction industries impact health and culture in predominantly Hispanic agricultural counties in South Texas. This paper will show a correlation between the health issues and the period of an increase in oil field activity in the area. This study seeks to use autoethnography to contribute to the research on environmental injustices in resource extractions in rural areas. The research questions I pose are: Why are these areas the most dense areas of resource extraction in Texas and how does resource extraction impact the health of the people in these communities? Drawing on data collected from oral history in-depth qualitative interviews, autoethnography, participant observation, archival research and map analysis conducted for my anthropology capstone research, this paper examines the impacts of the oil companies and uranium mining in 2 South Texas counties. The use of autoethnography in this research which draws on my personal experiences living in the affected areas, will offer a nuanced lense into this topic, one not typically used within the field of cultural anthropology. This research will illuminate how resource extractions have far reaching implications beyond their impacts on the natural environment; they affect the environments and the everyday lives of families and children living and working in rural areas.